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Treating laryngitis

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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In most cases, laryngitis gets better within a week without treatment.

However, there are a number of things you can do to help your recovery, including:

  • don't smoke and avoid smoky, dry or dusty environments
  • drink plenty of fluids, particularly water (but avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks), even though swallowing may be painful - this will ensure that you don't get dehydrated
  • painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, may ease any associated pain, headaches and fever (children under the age of 16 shouldn't take aspirin)
  • gargling with a mouthwash of warm, salty water or an over-the-counter solution, or sucking lozenges, can help soothe a sore throat although they will not reach the larynx
  • menthol inhalation and air humidifiers may soothe your airways and help keep them clear
  • avoid speaking when possible and only speak softly when you need to, but don't whisper because this can put more strain on your larynx

See your GP if your symptoms haven't improved after three weeks.

Treating underlying causes

In some cases, it's possible to treat the underlying cause of laryngitis, such as:

  • bacterial infections (but not viral infections) can be treated with antibiotics
  • if smoking or alcohol misuse is causing laryngitis, stopping smoking or cutting down how much you drink can help
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) can be treated with medication to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces - see treating GORD for more information
  • if an allergy is causing laryngitis, you may be able to avoid the substance you're allergic to or take medication called antihistamines to control your body's response to the substance - see treating allergies for more information
  • if straining your voice is causing laryngitis, you may benefit from vocal therapy (see below)

Vocal therapy is a type of speech and language therapy that involves studying how you use your voice and looking at how this may contribute to your symptoms. This means you can be given information and advice about any changes you can make or voice exercises you can do to prevent further damage to your larynx.

Acute means occurring suddenly or over a short period of time.
Antibiotics are medicines that can be used to treat infections caused by micro-organisms, usually bacteria or fungi. Examples of antibiotics include amoxicillin, streptomycin and erythromycin.
Dehydration is an excessive loss of fluids and minerals from the body.
A high temperature, also known as a fever, is when someone's body temperature is 38C (100.4F) or above.
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
A nodule is a small growth or lump of tissue.
Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
Analgesics are medicines that relieve pain. Examples include paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen.
Medical Review: September 16, 2013

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